NEW DELHI: When Ashok Gehlot engineered a “soft rebellion” against the Gandhis a month ago, it was in order to avert being moved away from the chief ministerial position, as desired by the Gandhis. Gehlot succeeded in his venture, but at the cost of the high command, which seemed weakened. A decision was to be taken within a week. However, the party leadership left the state cadre on its own which, according to party leaders, has caused more harm and widened the rift between the two camps of Sachin Pilot and Gehlot.
For many, after the crisis were settled, it was a decisive point for Congress where the Gandhis would decide as to who would be the state CM. However, Gehlot continued and no decision was taken. A month later, the environment of uncertainty persists for both which has led both the camps to seek for their own ascension while keeping the party interests at bay. It is being circulating within close circles of the party president (Mallikarjun Kharge) that Gehlot wants a decision to be taken immediately to clear the air and for that, he has opted for pressure politics.
In addition to that, a section of Congress leaders also believe that Maken had requested the party chief to remove him from Rajasthan position as a result of continuous discourteousness from Gehlot. A party insider said, “Gehlot doesn’t respect Maken.”
The Sunday Guardian talked to leaders of both the camps. Keeping in view the knotty relationship between Gehlot and Pilot, it appears, if this uncertainty prevails, the fault lines within the party will become deeper, sending the two camps further away from each other which will eventually result in more vehement factionalism in the state unit. “Seeing the current affairs in the state, the anger building up among both the camps could erupt at any time, if any conscious decision by Mallikarjun Kharge is not taken,” a political expert said.
A senior Congress leader close to Gehlot said, Pilot is an impatient man and if any other party offers him to become CM, in case they are short of MLAs, he will fly his flock towards that party and become the CM. The final destination he is working for is to become the CM and not for the party.
A Congress MLA in the state, while seeking anonymity, said, “There is a perception after the central leadership of the party said that they would take decision in a day or two, and now the newspapers keep printing that the decision will be taken and now every 15 days, there’s a decision that will be taken. Therefore, there is a sense of confusion of course and that confusion is not only in the Congress leadership, it’s everywhere.”
The MLA further added, “Somebody in the AICC may have said that he might continue, but everybody else in general doesn’t know what is going to happen. Is Gehlot going to continue, or is he not going to continue? Is there going to be a change and Pilot going to be the CM or the one among 102 MLAs is going to be the CM. Nobody actually knows. This situation of uncertainty is damaging the Congress.”